Joe Philbin Talks To Media…Says Nothing


Dec 1, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin during the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Dolphins head coach said a lot today at his post-season press conference.  Unfortunately he said a lot of nothing.  That is to be expected considering he likely doesn’t know 100% if his job is on the line or not.  I am posting below the entire new conference for you to read but I did not take the time to actually write it.  This is courtesy of the Palm Beach Post’s Andrew Abramson.  He did the leg work, I simply copied and pasted it for you here.  The interjections however are all mine.

From the PBP

Opening: “8-8 is not where this franchise wants to be, needs to be, and should be.”

"Q: Should offensive coordinator Mike Sherman return next season?:A: I’ve just begun, I haven’t even gotten to any discussion with any coaches. I’m going to talk to every single player, every single coach and we’ll decide and determine 2014 at a later point in time."

PP:  Philbin must have practiced his lines prior to the PC.  He uses this one more than once.

"Q: The team averaged less than 20 ppg this season and scored a combined 7 points in the last two games. How would you say Sherman did this year?A: I have a lot of confidence in our staff, our offensive staff. Mike Sherman, he’s an excellent football coach. And that’s what I think."

PP:  There is no question that Philbin respects Mike Sherman.  Sherman is the man who brought Philbin to the NFL and was his mentor.  Any decision regarding Sherman will be a tough one for Philbin.

"Q: Why couldn’t you make more plays on Sunday?A: If I had the answer we would have made the plays over the course of the game. In football there’s 22 guys on the field every single game… Again, to their credit, they played better and deserved to win."

PP:  This was kind of a cop-out question in my opinion.  What should have been asked was why his team came out and played with little emotion or visual desire to win a must win game.

"Q: You guys played so poorly the last two games. Will that factor into any possible organizational changes?A: Every year you go through a process of evaluation. Certainly you will look at those two games … We probably have 2,500 snaps on film — offense, defense, special teams. We certainly have to evaluate all those snaps, what we did as coaches, how the players executed as players. We certainly need to make changes, adjustments, tweaks, additions, deletions. That’s part of the whole process. I’m confident there will be, but I’m not right now, there’s nothing to be addressed right now. Certainly we’re going to look at everything."

PP:  There is nothing to be addressed right now?  There is a process I know that and you should as well.  Philbin needs to realize that his fan base is fuming.  He doesn’t need to throw anyone under a bus but at the same time he should understand the significance of losing two games with the playoffs on the line.  What he should have said was, “we are looking at every detail now and will make a timely decision as needed”.

"Q: You don’t put more weight on the end-of-the-season collapse?A: Again, not necessarily. We’ll look at the whole body of work."

PP:  There is no question that the Dolphins need to look at the entire body of work on the 2013 season but there is also no question that close attention should be paid to the last two games.  If players quit or didn’t get ready for a game of that magnitude than regardless of their season performance they should be looked at.  This is not a direct retort to Ryan Tannehill as the entire team looked lost and uninspired the last two weekends.  This was a blow off answer.

"Q: How do you think you did in December?A: 3-2. So we played some games, we played well, others we didn’t play as well. We wanted to finish better. you want to win every single game you play and you prepare to win every single whether it’s September, October, November, December. That’s what you do. That’s how you prepare the team every single week."

PP:  Again there is no fire from Joe Philbin and there was none by his team in weeks 16 and 17.  The only response Philbin should have made was it didn’t matter what they did in December.  They lost the two games that mattered most.  His lack of emotion or conviction is troubling.  “Playoffs!  Playoffs!”  It may be an NFL staple of a bad soundbite but at least it was emotional.  Joe Philbin should be pis

"Q: How did the team do this year?A: We’re an 8-8 football team. That’s an average record. That’s .500. The performance of the team starts with me — offense, defense, special teams. The expectations here are high and I understand that. I have a lot of faith and confidence in myself, the staff, in our players that we can make the corrections necessary to lead this team to play up to its potential and consistently compete for championships. That’s what I said the day I got here and I stand by what I said the day I got here and I’m confident I can do that."

PP:  This seems more of a statement directed towards the ears of Stephen Ross than the media or the fan base.

"Q: Have you spoken to Sherman, Kevin Coyle about their job status?A: I’ve just begun, I haven’t even gotten to any discussion with any coaches. I’m going to talk to every single player, every single coach and we’ll decide and determine 2014 at a later point in time."

PP:  This is the 2nd time that Philbin uses this prepared statement.  Naturally you need to review the season but changes will need to be made as the status quo is no longer acceptable in Miami.  It’s possible that Philbin is simply waiting to see what Ross decides.  As a point of interest if Ross decides to fire the whole group, Philbin will save himself from firing his mentor.

"Q: On finishing the season…A: Week 17 and we had an opportunity to get into the playoffs. Had we played better and won the football game and then when you get in the playoffs you have an opportunity to compete for a championship. So we’re not there yet but we are close. But we’re not there. We have a ways to go."

PP:  Getting into the playoffs would have erased a lot of anger by the fans and a lot of scrutiny by the media.  The question is simple but the answer much harder to find.  If the Dolphins were this close to making the playoffs is it safe to assume that there is enough talent on the team to actually make the playoffs?  If the answer is yes, then coaching failed this team.  If the answer is no then Jeff Ireland should be gone and Philbin should be given the chance to have better talent surround him.

"Q: Has Stephen Ross spoken to you yet?A: We talk to everybody, we’ll evaluate everybody and I’m constantly in communication with Steve. I visited him after the game and there will be an appropriate time and place to meet with him and then we’ll go from there."

PP:  This is another prepped comment and he again refers to an appropriate time.

"Q: You were in the bottom third of the league both offensive and defensively…A: The numbers, the game’s not played on the stat sheet. So my feeling is that Week 17 we had a game that had we won — which we didn’t win — we would’ve been in the playoffs. That’s where I’m setting the barometer that we’re not that far away. We’re close. I acknowledge that on paper there’s a lot of room for improvement."

PP:  Philbin is right about the numbers.  They don’t play the games based on stat sheets.   The rest of the playoff contenders didn’t get to the post season on stat sheets either.  They got their because of their stats.  The Dolphins ranking so low in all categories and still being this close to a playoff birth again strikes me as a coaching and not a talent issue.  Stats may not win ball games but statistically bad teams fight for draft position not championships.

"Q: More on Ross…A: I haven’t talked to him, I’m proceeding and working and beginning my evaluation for the 2013 season. I’m going to work every single day. We haven’t talked about any of that stuff."

PP:  The exact question isn’t posed here but the answer is not the same as the other one regarding Ross where Philbin stated he spoke with Ross after the game.  It’s likely that he doesn’t know his future any more than anyone else.  The fact that Ross has not actually come out and said whether his coach is safe is neither an endorsement or an indication of imminent release.

"Q: Are you capable of firing Mike Sherman?A: I’m beginning the evaluation of the 2013 season and we haven’t made any decision on who’s coming back and who isn’t. We’ll have all those discussions at the appropriate time."

PP:  I don’t always agree with media asking questions that no one is really going to answer but this one needed to be asked and the prepped response was as simple an answer as you can get.  It get’s better.

"Q: But are you capable of firing Mike Sherman?A: That’s my answer."

PP:  Fans will believe this to be a copout and the media might in some cases make you feel that as well but Philbin is not going to throw Sherman under the wheels of anything from a bus to a moped.  He has a hard decision to make with Sherman and it might be better for Sherman to simply step down and save his “padawan” learner the emotional stress of canning him.

Again thanks to Andrew Abramson for typing out the questions and answers.